This time, Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial could look a lot different than his first.
The 80-year-old comedian returned to the same Pennsylvania courtroom Monday where he stood trial last year. That trial ended with a hung jury, and Cosby’s retrial will start April 2.
More than 50 women have publicly accused Cosby of raping or assaulting them over the past 40 years. But only one, Andrea Constand, filed charges within the statute of limitations.
At this week’s pretrial hearing, prosecutors are trying to persuade Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill to allow 19 more accusers to testify in the upcoming retrial.
Only Constand and one other woman, Kelly Johnson, were allowed to testify at Cosby’s original trial. Prosecutors tried to introduce evidence from 13 other women, but were denied.
The prosecution wants more accusers to testify this time to try to show Cosby had a pattern of misconduct, and that Constand’s case wasn’t an isolated incident.
But Cosby’s defense team says additional accusers should not be allowed to testify, saying they don’t meet the legal requirements.
Cosby was accused of assaulting Constand without her consent, assaulting her when she was unconscious and assaulting her using drugs to impair her ability to consent. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three charges.
The prosecution may have been hindered in the first trial because the jury had to rely primarily on Constand’s testimony, University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias said.
“The fact that the case turned substantially on one person’s testimony may have made it difficult to win, and the defense counsel made many efforts to undercut her testimony,” he said shortly after the mistrial.
Judge O’Neill could decide whether to allow more accusers to testify in the retrial as early as Tuesday.